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NLM Technical Bulletin

NLM Technical Bulletin 1997 Sep-Oct; 298

In This Issue:

Year-End Processing (YEP)

YEP of Stored and Saved Searches and Automatic SDI's


Rebuilding of CATLINE®/ AVLINE®

MeSH Coming Attractions

MeSH on the Web

Gold Standard Search

dot Technical Notes


MEDLINE - 1998 Weekly Update Schedule

AIDSLINE - 1998 Weekly Update Schedule

HealthSTAR - 1998 Weekly Update Schedule

NLM Databases - 1998 Monthly Update Schedule

[This link was removed because it is no longer valid] 1998 NLM Pricing Algorithm Chart

MEDLARS Pricing Schedule

Current Issue


Back Issues


Technical Notes

Abridged Indexed Medicus (AIM) Ceases Publication

The National Library of Medicine's monthly publication Abridged Index Medicus (AIM) will cease following the Volume 28, Number 12, (December 1997) issue.

The Abridged Index Medicus was initiated in 1970 to "afford rapid access to selected biomedical journal literature of immediate interest to the practicing physician" when online services were not readily available. A subset of citations from 119 English language clinical journals indexed for Index Medicus was selected for AIM. The publication was of value to the community over the years; at one point, over two thousand libraries, clinics, colleges, and individuals subscribed to the monthly issues and the annual cumulations. During the past 20 years, however, an increasing number of subscribers have been accessing the data from electronic resources, and subscriptions to the printed product have declined.

Online searchers will still be able to search using A (SB) to limit MEDLINE retrieval to the journals in the AIM subset. Even though the printed AIM is being discontinued, the AIM subset list will continue to exist online in ELHILL. To search the AIM subset in Internet Grateful Med type: /a (sb) in a search box. PubMed, a non-ELHILL search system, does not currently contain a Subset (SB) field or its equivalent; however, this enhancement will be added to PubMed in the near future.

Since there are many demands for Federal dollars, the National Library of Medicine must make some difficult choices concerning the support of existing products versus the improvement and development of new products. NLM Associate Director for Library Operations, Lois Ann Colaianni, realizes that some find the AIM particularly useful; and she will be happy to explore alternatives for this information with such individuals. She may be contacted via e-mail,

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NLM Automatic SDI Service Moratorium

Effective immediately, no additional users will be added to the NLM Automatic SDI program, and existing users are advised to add no new searches. The Library is exploring ways that users may obtain the same data in a more timely and more individualized way, and at less expense to both the user and to NLM. Recognizing that transitioning to a new current awareness service may take time, NLM will continue the current Automatic SDI service for at least several months for users who are already receiving the service. See the article on pages 5-6 of this issue for instructions on how to make any necessary revisions to existing automatic SDI strategies to reflect changes in the 1998 MeSH vocabulary.

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Codes and Billing Practices Update

Practice Time Credit Eliminated
The $20 MEDLARS practice time credit for new User ID codes was eliminated effective October 1, 1997. Few new users were registering for billed access and NLM wants to encourage use of the free Web-based search systems (PubMed and Internet Grateful Med). The discontinued practice time credit, which expired one year from the date a User ID code was issued, was formerly available to new (non-student) codeholders performing billed searches.

Student Codes Discontinued
Effective October 1, 1997, the Library stopped issuing new individual or institutional student codes. These codes were billed at a student-rate (discounted) for use of ELHILL or TOXNET files, or PDQ. The Library is encouraging both students and teachers to access NLM databases at our Web site. NLM will contact institutions with student codes to see if the students can be switched to using the free Web-based search systems, PubMed and IGM. All existing individual student codes will continue to be charged at student rates for a two year period.

Old Unused Codes Deactivated Effective October 1, 1997, billed MEDLARS User ID codes issued before October 1994 and not used for the past three years, have been deactivated. Deactivated codes will not permit a user to login and search.

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Database Update Information for 1998

The NLM database update schedules and update frequency chart for 1998 are published as Appendixes A, B, C, and D. You may wish to photocopy these pages and post them near your computer for reference during the 1998 year.

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MeSH Corrections

Please note the following corrections to MeSH 1998 Tree Numbers. The Tree Numbers are correct in the ELHILL files and in the data from the NLM Web pages but the incorrect numbers appear in the printed MeSH publications for 1998.

MH            -        Cognition Disorders

Correct       -        F3.087.250

Incorrect     -        F3.126.185

MH            -        Homosexuality

Correct       -        F1.145.792.975.500

Incorrect     -        F1.145.792.320

MH            -        Perceptual Disorders

Correct       -        C10.597.643

Correct       -        C23.888.592.646

Incorrect     -        C10.597.244.600

Incorrect     -        C23.888.592.224.600

The notice of this correction may also be downloaded from the MeSH Web page at:

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OLDMEDLINE Now Available for Lease

The OLDMEDLINE database contains 307,366 citations that were published in the 1964 and 1965 Cumulated Index Medicus (CIM).

This file became available to searchers of the NLM MEDLARS system on December 18, 1996, and is expected to grow as citations from earlier volumes of CIM are converted to machine-readable format and added. The database is now available on tape for lease from the National Library of Medicine for an annual fee of $1,000. Please contact Jane L. Rosov at or 888-FINDNLM in regard to leasing the file.

In 1964, NLM began testing the computerized MEDLARS system as a mechanism for producing Index Medicus, and in 1966 began making this information available online in the MEDLINE database. However, the Library did not keep indexed citations for the 1964 and 1965 publications in electronic form, and until the creation of OLDMEDLINE this information was not available in any NLM database. NLM was assisted in its effort to provide online access to these citations by the Deutsches Institut fur Medizinische Dokumentation und Information (DIMDI), the International MEDLARS Center in Germany, which had tapes of the original data from the 1964 and 1965 CIM, and supplied them to NLM.

Data from the DIMDI tapes have not been maintained for over 30 years, and were loaded "as is" into OLDMEDLINE. NLM conducted limited review and maintenance of data prior to creating OLDMEDLINE, but the records have not undergone the stringent data entry and validation procedures now in place for MEDLINE and other MEDLARS files. In most instances, these records reflect the information as it appeared when created in 1964/65. Please see page 1 of the November-December 1996 Technical Bulletin for more details about OLDMEDLINE. In addition, the OLDMEDLINE chapter (chapter 23) of the Online Services Reference Manual [This link was removed because it is no longer valid] may be downloaded from the NLM Web site.

It is expected that 1962 and 1963 CIM records will be added to OLDMEDLINE early in 1998, as will approximately 500 records in the area of tuberculosis. In addition, there will be some data clean-up to correct some errors that were introduced when the file was first built. Licensees who receive OLDMEDLINE tapes prior to the addition of the new records and maintenance activity will need to process a full file replacement after these actions are taken.

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SI Field Changes for GENBANK Records

The Secondary Source Identifier field for GENBANK records in MEDLINE has been changed. Previously, the accession number following the GENBANK/ was six characters long and consisted of one alphabetic character followed by five numbers as shown in the example below.


As of spring 1997, the accession number is 8 characters long and consists of two alphabetic characters followed by 6 numbers as shown in the example below:


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A new command, DISPLAY UNIQUE, gives users of TRI and other TOXNET files an easy way to display a list of unique data element values from a sorted retrieval set. A typical Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) database search might involve finding what chemicals were reported released by Aerocrop Corporation (fictitious example) facilities. First search for the corporation's facilities in the Facility Name (FNM) field by entering AEROCROP (FNM). This might retrieve 56 records with only 5 unique chemicals in those 56 records. Then perform a SORT on the chemical name field by giving the command SORT NAME. Now enter DISPLAY UNIQUE to see a list of these five chemicals along with the number of postings for each. Before this new command was implemented, searchers would have had to issue a PRINT command for all 56 records retrieved and scan through them to identify the five unique chemicals. To see the above example worked out in more detail, and for additional information about DISPLAY UNIQUE, connect to TOXNET and enter EXPLAIN DISPLAY UNIQUE at any USER: prompt.

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Alternatives to the Technical Bulletin on the Web

As announced in the cover story of the July-August Technical Bulletin, the Technical Bulletin will be published exclusively on NLM's Web site ( and cease paper copy beginning with the January-February 1998 issue. For those users who do not yet have Web access and wish to be alerted to the subjects being covered in the Technical Bulletin, the following alternative methods of disseminating information will be available.

1. The complete table of contents for each issue of the Technical Bulletin will be posted in the newsletters published by the Regional Medical Libraries (RMLs). The RMLs will also be selecting and adapting material from the Technical Bulletin that is relevant for their particular audiences and publishing this information in their regional newsletters. You may call 800-338-7657 to reach your RML and have yourself placed on the mailing list for the newsletter for your region.

2. The online NEWS in ELHILL will have a notice of each updated issue.

3. The complete table of contents for each issue will be posted in ELHILL and available with a $INFO command.

NLM recognizes that none of these alternatives may be a perfect solution nor as convenient as having a printed issue delivered to your desk. However, the benefits of more timely dissemination of information, having electronic links to related materials, and the cost savings in these budget conscious times make this the right time for this transition to a Web-based Technical Bulletin. The Library encourages you to make this transition with us.

A recent survey of network member libraries indicated that 73% of the responding hospital libraries (1807 institutions) indicated that they have an Internet connection. And 94% (1703 institutions) of those with Internet connections have Web access. If you do not have Web access contact your RML. This fall NLM and the RMLs will be developing plans to assist all NN/LM hospital library members to obtain Web access.

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Revised Basics of Searching MEDLINE on ELHILL Available

The revised Basics of Searching MEDLINE on ELHILL, dated September 1997, is now available. This manual may be downloaded free of charge from the NLM Web site: [This link was removed because it is no longer valid]. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen, past the Online Services Reference Manual chapter list to Additional Search Tools to find the Basics of Searching MEDLINE on ELHILL. Note, however, that NLM is transitioning from ELHILL over the next year.

Or you may order the Basics from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS). The NTIS order number is PB97-199681. Paper copy is $41.00 (U.S./Canada/Mexico) and $82.00 (other countries). Microfiche is $19.50 (U.S./Canada/Mexico) and $39.00 (other countries).

Questions concerning orders may be directed to NTIS at 800-423-9255. Callers from outside the U.S. or Canada may reach NTIS at 703-487-4650. Orders may be placed in the following ways:

800-423-9255 or
Web site:

If you are concerned about Internet security you may register your credit card with NTIS by calling 703-487-4682. If you need a paper form to place your order you may download a pdf file from or you may call NTIS at 800-423-9255 to have a form mailed to you.

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Revised HSDB Reference Guide Available

The revised HSDB Reference Guide, dated September 1997, is now available. Single copies may be requested at no charge by sending an e-mail to or writing to:

HSDB/TOXNET Representative Toxicology and Environmental Health Information Program
Specialized Information Services Division
National Library of Medicine
8600 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20894
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Bibliography of Bioethics 1997 Available from Kennedy Institute of Ethics

Volume 23 (1997) of the annual Bibliography of Bioethics has just been published by the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Georgetown University. It is produced under a contract with the National Library of Medicine and remains the world's most comprehensive resource to access English-language information on the ethical, legal, and public policy aspects of health care and biomedical research.

The 1997 Bibliography of Bioethics has 774 pages containing 3,600 new references to journal articles, bills or laws, court decisions, chapters from books, government documents, books, and news reports. Citations are arranged alphabetically by subject, providing ready access to such topics as AIDS, allowing to die, assisted suicide, confidentiality, ethics committees, euthanasia, fetal tissue donation, gene therapy, genetic screening, genome mapping, health resource allocation, human experimentation, informed consent, managed care programs, organ and tissue donation, resource allocation, and treatment refusal.

The new 1997 Bibliography of Bioethics (ISSN 0363-0161, ISBN 1-883913-03-9) is available for $60.00 (U.S., Canada, and Mexico; $70.00 elsewhere) from:

Kennedy Institute of Ethics
Georgetown University
Washington, DC 20057-1212

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Cancer vs. Cancer Cytopathology

The journal Cancer, indexed for MEDLINE, contains a separately named section called Cancer Cytopathology. Beginning in 1997, the title, Cancer Cytopathology, appears on one volume per year. Cancer Cytopathology is not a separate serial and should not be cataloged or bound as one. The cataloging guideline which covers this situation is Library of Congress Rule Interpretation 21.2C for "Fluctuating Titles of Serials" which says that if a serial has two or more titles that are used on different issues according to a regular pattern, choose the earliest title as the title proper and give the other title in a note. NLM's cataloging record and the OCLC record for Cancer now say "Beginning 1997, one v. per year has section title: Cytopathology" and there is a variant title added entry for Cancer. Cytopathology.

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Revised NLM Pricing Information

The 1998 NLM Online Pricing Algorithm is included as Appendix E of this issue. It is effective January 1, 1998.

An updated MEDLARS Pricing Schedule is included as Appendix F of this issue of the Technical Bulletin.

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Copyright, Privacy, Accessibility, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
HHS Vulnerability Disclosure
Last updated: 21 August 2012